I began my internship today at Quest Newspapers at North Lakes. I arrived at about 9:30. North Lakes is located north of Brisbane and is a rapidly growing region. We know this by virtue of the fact that Ikea will be opening out there soon! From where I live it was a 35 minute drive, or thereabouts.

The receptionist greeted me at the entry and took me to a journalist, Georgia, the Sports Reporter. I was introduced to an Editor, Jamie Mason, who also introduced me to Nick Crockford, the Moreton Divisional Editor. I received a very warm and friendly welcome and was introduced to the rest of the team. It is a small, laid-back newsroom and my earlier nerves were soon dissipated.

I also forgot about my fashion dramas. I no longer fit in any of my clothes from my pre-babies days. They are too big now, strangely enough. So I will have to strategically mix and match for the remainder of the week! These are the things you don’t want to be stressing about at these times, but there you go…. Lessons for our Prime Minister about the many financial challenges facing unemployed people looking for work…

I had a brief chat with Mr Crockford about local newspapers and their emphasis on hyper-local stories. I was given several copies of local papers to gain an understanding of the format and content of the local paper. I can understand why communities fight for their local paper. It is an invaluable source for finding out what’s happening at a grass-roots level. I also arranged to do my interview with him or Jamie later in the week.

I was issued with a log-in and email address and had my own workstation to work from. Two journalists gave me briefs to work on. I wrote two stories from two press releases in the morning. That was a good introduction to the process and a timely refresher in writing news stories. One story was about new walking trails opening up at Lake Samsonvale, the other story was about the approval by the Council of Mayors for a full Olympic feasibility study to be carried out in South-East Queensland.

I also condensed some Queensland Government website material for a wrap-around feature the paper will be including about floods.

The start of the week is the busiest time for the local paper so I was left to my own devices to work on the stories at my own pace. I was relieved that there was no pressure!

I was also shown how the photographers are issued with work assignments. Writing stories is only one small part of the entire process, yet the heart of the craft.

In the afternoon I worked on the What’s On planner for the Pine Rivers Shire and North Lakes editions. It was actually really fascinating seeing all the events that were on and being the one who got to pick what events would be selected for the local paper. It was also very useful to learn about all the different community events going on around town. The calendar is a boundless source of news stories and ideas that involve a variety of different groups and people.

That pretty much took the rest of the day and I finished at 4:30.

This is a big turning point in my life, for better or for worse. Most journalists start their training at 17. I started at 37, with low confidence and self-esteem. Who knows how it will pan out or if I really am cut out for it.

But all I do know is, even though I am exhausted and did hardly anything too draining, I enjoyed my experience immensely and am looking forward to tomorrow. I also now understand why journos like to finish their day with a drink and their mates down at the pub!!!